One streak ends, and a fanbase rejoices.
The Edmonton Oilers spent a decade in strife, spinning their wheels in the rebuilding mud and splattering failed lottery picks all over the place in their wake. After falling to the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2006 Stanley Cup Final, the storied Edmonton franchise became a punchline.
No more: With a win on Tuesday, the Oilers clinched a playoff berth for the first time in a decade. Thank you, Connor McDavid.
One streak ends, and a fan base mourns.
What a year of transitions for the Detroit Red Wings. Joe Louis Arena is getting a farewell tour. Owner Mike Ilitch passed away. And on Tuesday, the Red Wings’ remarkable 25-year playoff streak came to an end thanks to a plethora of scenarios playing out.
Endings and renewal. Sports is nothing if not a series of eras and moments waiting for the page to turn and a new chapter to begin. Here we go.
Hurricanes 4, Red Wings 1
Blue Jackets 3, Sabres 1
Maple Leafs 3, Panthers 2
Oilers 2, Kings 1
Three things we learned
1. Wendel Clark was ready for Auston Matthews’s record-breaking night
Matthews scored his 35th goal, passing Clark for most goals ever as a Maple Leafs rookie. Clark set the previous mark in 1985-86.
Wendel Clark, on when he knew his #leafs rookie goal record was in danger: "The second period of the first game."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 29, 2017
2. Canada is getting the playoffs again
So much for that fun joke series. Last year, every Canadian team missed the Stanley Cup playoffs. The salt and bitterness coming from Canadian Hockey Twitter all spring was palpable.
That won’t happen again, thanks to the Oilers. The Canadiens will soon follow, and the Maple Leafs and Senators could join them.
3. The wild card races are coming into focus
With so many teams above them clinching playoff berths (Anaheim, Edmonton, San Jose and the Rangers all punched tickets), the wild card teams are about to get the spotlight in the season’s final week.
That’s good, because they’ve been fairly entertaining lately. Boston solidified its hold on a playoff spot with a win over Nashville on Tuesday, and the Flames have taken hard punches at everyone they’ve played lately.
Hello, late Alex Ovechkin run at the Maurice Richard Trophy.
Stat of the night:
Ovechkin (558) scored 3 times to pass Johnny Bucyk (555) & move within 2 of tying Guy Lafleur (560) for 25th on the NHL’s all-time list. pic.twitter.com/khHkJYLy4I— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 29, 2017